Women’s Tennis: Wildcats defeat Fighting Irish thanks to tough singles wins

Grayson Welo, Reporter

Women’s Tennis

Coach Claire Pollard has said Northwestern needed to do a better job dealing with their emotions on the court. Then this weekend, the Wildcats played like a team that’s learned its lesson.

Northwestern left South Bend with its second win of the season after defeating Notre Dame 4-3 in a tight match last Friday.

NU started off strong and picked up the doubles’ point, giving the Cats a leg up heading into singles.

In doubles, freshman Briana Crowley and sophomore Hannah McColgan beat Notre Dame senior Zoe Spence and sophomore Zoe Taylor 6-4. Sister duo freshman Christina Hand and sophomore Clarissa Hand beat Notre Dame junior Ally Bojczuk and redshirt sophomore Julia Lilien 6-4.

With a one set structure and no-ad scoring, players have little time to find their rhythm in doubles. Earning the doubles’ point can differentiate between ultimately winning and losing, but the Cats were on the winning side of that dilemma in Friday’s match.

“When you play no-ad scoring, every point really matters,” Pollard said. “I’m not sure we’re there yet making great decisions throughout every point, but that will be a sign of growth that you’ll see from us throughout the season.”

Although Pollard said doubles pairings are subject to change throughout the beginning of the season, Crowley and McColgan have been successful at the second doubles spots, winning their last two doubles matchups against Notre Dame and Princeton.

McColgan said she and Crowley both enjoy coming to net which creates a good dynamic between the partners.

In singles, NU split its matches to earn 3 points and seal its victory over the Fighting Irish. unior Inci Ogut beat Notre Dame junior Cameron Corse 6-2, 6-4. After losing her singles matchups against Vanderbilt and Princeton, Ogut picked up the Cats’ only singles win in straight sets last Friday.

Ogut said she did not change any technical aspects of her game, but instead focused on playing with an aggressive mindset which gave her an edge over her opponent.

While Ogut finished her match with relative ease, NU battled for its other two singles wins. At sixth singles, McColgan overcame losing the first set to beat Notre Dame sophomore Maeve Koscielski in three sets 2-6, 7-6, 6-1.

At third singles, sophomore Clarissa Hand played Notre Dame junior Ally Bojczuk. Although Hand stumbled in the first set, she fought back to win the match 5-7, 6-3, 6-3. Hand’s win gave NU the deciding point over the Fighting Irish, ending the match.

As an upperclassmen and more experienced member of the team, Ogut said she will continue to work hard for the team and strives to lead by example in practice. Similarly, senior Julie Byrne takes her leadership role seriously on the court and off the court.

“I try to teach the underclassmen and everyone any small tips like even ‘if you lose the first set, you win the first game of your second set’ — some unwritten rules,” Byrne said. “As well, in practice leading by example and letting your tennis do the talking.”

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